As COVID-19 vaccine sales continue to soar, Moderna Chief Executive Stephane Bancel’s total personal financial compensation increased by 41 percent in 2021, reaching $18.2 million. The company’s total revenue rose 2,200 percent in 2021, jumping from $803 million to $18.5 billion.1 2 Moderna partnered with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), headed by Anthony Fauci, MD, to develop and test the mRNA vaccine known today as Spikevax.3
Moderna Launches Global mRNA Platform and Worldwide Expansion
The Moderna executive compensation report came just days after the company’s announcement of a new global public health strategy that will focus on messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine development against “priority pathogens that protect global health.”2 Bancel said that the world should not assume that COVID will be the last pandemic to impact global health and that the company will work together with global leaders to bring “the full force of its mRNA platform against infection diseases”.2
Earlier this year, Moderna also announced it will be expanding its commercial network in Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland and Sweden.1 The company has also announced plans for new branches in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan. It will reportedly invest up to $500 million into a new mRNA-manufacturing facility in Kenya to “ensure sustainable access to transformative mRNA innovation on the African contintent.”4
Spikevax is Moderna’s first FDA Approved Product
Moderna’s COVID biologic Spikevax has been distributed under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) granted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in December 2020. In January 2022, the product received full FDA approval for individuals 18 years old and over.5 Spikevax is the first FDA approved product from Moderna—a relatively young pharmaceutical company established in 2010 with just $2 million and relatively little investor interest at the time of its creation.6
While CEO Bancel’s salary and company revenue increased, annual compensation for Moderna’s median employee declined by 16 percent. Moderna stated that the decrease in non-executive pay was due to the company having more part time employees and manufacturing employees than during the previous year.7
Moderna CFO Steps Down After Earning $42 Million
Moderna Chief Financial Officer David Meline will step down next month but will remain on the board as a consultant until July 2024 to allow for his 270,000 stock options to fully vest—a move that will help him earn approximately $42 million.8
Pharmaceutical executives are no strangers to multimillion-dollar compensation packages. Several COVID vaccine developing company executives in particular have seen major spikes in compensation since 2020.
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla received a total compensation of $24.3 million for 20219 and Pascal Soriot, CEO of AstraZeneca, earned $21.4 million in 2020.7 While former Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky’s total pay declined in 2021, his compensation of $26.74 million last year has repeatedly been among the highest in the pharmaceutical industry.10
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1 Liu A. Moderna CEO’s pay jumps 41% to $18.2M as COVID vaccine giant expands globally. Fierce Pharma Mar. 10, 2022.
2 Liu A. Moderna plots 4 new Asia branches, local hiring spree to build its commercial footprint for life beyond COVID shots. Fierce Pharma Feb. 16, 2022.
3 Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News. Moderna, NIAID Partner on Planned Trial of Coronavirus mRNA Vaccine. Feb 25, 2020.
4 Keown A. Moderna global strategy sets sights on 15 priority pathogens. BioSpace Mar. 8, 2022.
5 Spikevax and Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine. U.S. Food and Drug Administration Mar. 29, 2022.
6 Loftus P, Zuckerman G. Inside Moderna: the covid vaccine front-runner with no track record and an unsparing CEO. The Wall Street Journal July 1, 2020.
7 Keown A. Moderna CEO’s salary spikes while the median employee’s falls. BioSpace Mar. 10, 2022.
8 Ponciano, J. Moderna finance chief steps down after two years—but lands deal for $42 million stock options. MSN Apr. 11, 2022.
9 Hobley N. Pfizer CEO received $24.3 million in total compensation for 2021. The Vaccine Reaction Apr. 11, 2022.
10 Sagonowsky E. Former J&J CEO Alex Gorsky saw total pay fall last year but remains among pharma’s best paid. Fierce Pharma Mar. 16, 2022.